Orange Shirt Day! Every Child Matters Honouring Residential School Survivors and Remembering Those Who Didn’t!
What is Orange Shirt Day? It is a national movement to recognize and acknowledge the experience of students of Indian Residential Schools, to honour the survivors and those who did not make it home. Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 This initiative asks for every Canadian to wear an orange shirt on September 30 in the spirit of healing and reconciliation. In honouring and validating the healing and reconciliation of former students and their families.
Why September 30? September 30 was chosen because it was during that time of the year in which children were taken from their homes and communities to the residential schools.
Phyllis Webstad : the inspiration for Orange Shirt Day Phyllis’ Truth I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school! When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never saw it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared. I was 13 years old and in grade 8 when my son Jeremy was born. Because my grandmother and mother both attended residential school for 10 years each, I never knew what a parent was supposed to be like. With the help of my aunt, Agness Jack, I was able to raise my son and have him know me as his mother. I went to a treatment centre for healing when I was 27 and have been on this healing journey since then. I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter. Even with all the work I’ve done! I am honored to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll1pUrK29MM
Residential School Why were these schools created? Who administered these schools?
Questions you may have… 1. How many years did the residential schools run throughout Canada? 2. How many children attended these schools throughout Canada? 3. What was it like to attend those schools? 4. Was there a residential school in our area?
Residential School Affects The aims of assimilation meant devastation for those who were subjected to years of abuse. Loss of traditional Languages Loss of traditional Culture and Traditions Disconnect from family and community; when students returned to the reserve, they often found they didn't belong. They didn't have the skills to help their parents, and became ashamed of their native heritage. Intergenerational Trauma- Where the trauma of Residential Schools continue to be felt by families for many generations.
What does reconciliation mean? According to the Oxford dictionary the definition of reconciliation is 1.)the restoration of friendly relations: 2.)the action of making one view or belief compatible with another:
What does reconciliation mean to Aboriginal Peoples? To provide support towards efforts to improve and enhance Aboriginal relationships and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. To recognize/celebrate the strengths, courage, resiliency and achievements of Residential School survivors and all Aboriginal Peoples. To contribute to a sense of identity, unity and belonging. To promote Aboriginal languages, cultures, and traditional and spiritual values. To remember in a tangible and permanent way the residential school experience.
What can you do? Participate on September 30 by wearing an orange shirt to honour Residential School Survivors and those who did not get to go home Educate yourself on First Nation history, culture and traditions and share with others Be kind to one another!